tv Crimes of the Century CNN July 31, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
technological society as far as he was concerned. he had a higher purpose, and they were immaterial to him. >> oklahoma city lies at the geographic heart of the country. more small town than big city, probably the last place you pick to be targeted for destruction. then came the morning of april 19th, 1995. >> good morning in the proceeding with regard to application 95-501 for a permit. we will present evidence here, evidence from the applicant with
regard to this proceeding there on four elements that i have to receive information regarding -- >> fire on the ground. we will have to get on the ground to get a better view of it. wow. holy cow. about a third of the knowledge has been blown away. >> it was staggering the potential casualties and deaths. i remember saying god, i don't want to die today. >> it was a terrifying attack. >> i was so hoping it was not an american. >> that left an entire nation disillusioned. >> it was an act of cowardess. >> it was a game changer. >> it's the worst act of american terrorism in american history perpetrated by one of our. a decorated arm veteran of the first gulf war. the oklahoma city bombing, next.
>> okay, let's go. tammy, you can see thick black smoke billowing from the federal court building downtown. >> we see dozens of people that are bleeding. some of them you can't even make them out. they are so badly injured. >> the impact was immediate. and nationwide. >> an explosion in oklahoma city
with worldwide implications and enormous consequences. >> the bombing sent shock waves through washington. >> increased security nationwide. >> they're activated an emergency response. >> it could be a wacko or a professional. you don't have to be a rocket scientist to create this kind of bomb. >> as the smoke began to clear, two questions reverberated across the country. who and why? the answers would be shocking. the man behind the devastation was an american. his name? timothy mcveigh. >> tim mcveigh was one of ours. he was a war hero. he grew up in the suburbs of buffalo. we needed to know. there was a sense, an obligation to find out who this man was. >> timothy mcveigh was born on april 23rd, 1968 in lock port in upstate new york. by all accounts had an ordinary
childhood and adolescence. >> we were never told anything that gave you warning that he was going to do something like this. in fact as a teenager, he was the young man that people in the neighborhood would choose to baby-sit their kids. >> he was a good student. he was bright. above average intelligence. sometimes you look at the history of severe criminal conduct and there is childhood abuse or abandonment and you can see how someone developed into it. nothing striking in mcveigh's background. >> the young have a did have a dark side. while still a teenager, he discovered the turner diaries, a venomously racist novel led by white supremacist against a federal government. >> it described a truck bombing of fbi headquarters through washington, d.c. sounding similar to what took place in
oklahoma city on april 19th, 1995. >> if timothy have a was looking to make a statement, he succeeded in the worst way possible. >> debris, glass, it looks as though emergency crews are on the scene. >> the incredible explosion that ripped apart the alfred p murrah building ripped apart. the air was whipped into a tornado of glass shards and choking black smoke. floor pancaked on to the next, crushing and trapping men, women, and children below. >> the roof collapsed. >> the second floor held a daycare center. the lucky ones staggered into the street, some barely alive.
>> i saw a yellow flash and then it was pitch black. >> the force of the blast bent me over my desk. >> the whole back of the building fell in on us. everybody has back injuries, head injuries. neck, bleeding. >> i felt pain on my left side of my face and popping noises. it was the glass chards. >> i kept falling. this horrible noise. horrible noise. >> i remember saying god, i don't want to die today and i
don't want to die in this building. i would like to die later. >> it felt like an earthquake. like something shook our television station. that was five miles away. >> in the first five minutes, no one was sure what caused the explosion. >> we're thought it might have been a gas explosion because we had to evacuate two or weeks earlier because of a gas leak downtown. >> i thought that a war had started. i thought oklahoma city had been bombed and we were attacked by another country. i thought the explosion was an atomic blast from the air force base. >> i was trying to make sense out of it. i did not think it was a bomb. >> they have dog teams searching for survivors and for bodies.
>> scores of people have been killed out right and hundreds more injured. the blast radius encompasses a 16-block area, but the murrah building is ground zero. >> bureau of alcohol, tobacco and fire warms is there and some of them are missing. >> i a a child care center is located there. initial estimates is there is perhaps 1,000 people. it was staggering the potential causualties and deaths. everything around the building was on fire. cars across the street were on fire. the trees that were there were on fire. >> people at this hour are literally trapped in the alfred
murrah building in downtown oklahoma city. >> they have found a bomb in the building. >> 90 minutes after the blast, a new panic radiates through the streets when first responders come across what appears to be a second bomb. the rescue operation is suspended. a four-block area is quickly evacuated. it is thankfully a false alarm, but precious moments have been lost. by the time the rescue resumes, investigators have swarmed the area. >> was this just a freak accidental explosion or was it intentional? >> it is quickly determined that the explosion of the federal building was caused by a truck bomb. >> there certain things you can look for in the case of a large
vehicle bomb. there was roughly a 32-foot crater in the street that was about dead center of the block. >> investigators get the first big break. they learned that a rear axel housing that probably came from the truck bomb landed around 200 yards from the bomb site. >> i heard something coming from the air and i looked up and you can see this big object coming towards us. when it hit the car, it knocked it down to the sets of doors and i looked in front of my car and there was an axle laying there. i said there is a car bomb. >> early indications are the bomb was a half ton bomb made of fertilizer and fuel oil. >> fortunately the axle housing contains the truck's confidential vehicle identification number. >> using that number, we were able to trace the vehicle and identify it as a fort motor product made for ryder company. >> they're inform the fbi this
particular truck has been assigned to elliott's body shop in junction city, kansas, 270 miles north of oklahoma city. they discover that the truck had been rented two days earlier. >> the rental documents themselves showed that it had been rented by a robert bob cling. we had no idea who robert cling was or whether he was a real person. >> an employee provides a description of cling and another man he believed was with him. who was robert cling and why had he just murdered nearly 200 men, women, and children? within 24 hours, the nation would learn the stunning truth. >> let there be no room for doubt. we will find the people who did this. imagine - she won't have to remember passwords.
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>> it's one of the most terrifying days in american history. >> just devastating. smoke and debris and fire on the ground. there numerous injuries. >> the human toll is overwhelming. 168 people killed. at least 650 injured. among the dead are 19 children. >> very little hope for those left in the building. >> the oklahoma city bombing will go down in history as one of the elemental moments that people will remember where they were at the time. >> this is the grizzly meticulous search effort to find bodies. >> less than 90 minutes after the blast, about 75 miles north of oklahoma city, state trooper charlie hanger stops a 1977
mercury marquee. the driver is one timothy james have a. >> he had a military type appearance with a short haircut and a light wind breaker that was zipped up at the bottom. as he was removing his bill fold, that jacket tightened up and i could see a bulge that appeared to be a weapon. i grabbed the bulge and instructed him to get his hands up and turn around at the same time i was drawing my weapon and stuck it to the back of his head. he said my weapon is loaded. i said well so is mine. >> he arrests have a for carrying a concealed weapon, never imagining his prisoner is the oklahoma city bomber. initially the name mcveigh means nothing to bombing investigators. they are looking for robert cling, the man who rented the ryder truck in kansas.
>> it seems hard to believe this destruction was the work of two men. >> with cling and a suspected companion, they canvas the entire area. >> one agent was assigned the dreamland motel. he talked to the owner of that place and he asked her, has anyone been in here who had a ryder truck. she said actually there was. the agent decided to show her the conception. she looked at it and said that really looks like the fellow who rented room 25. >> he rented the room under the name of tim mcveigh. the truck was rented in the name of robert cling. there was a question if either were a true name. >> we did a record search through the crime information
center to see if timothy mcveighs have been arrested. we learned that a timothy mcveigh has been arrested in noble county about 75 miles north of oklahoma city and was arrested the morning of the bombing. he was still there, but getting ready to be released on bail. we put a hold on him until the agents could get there to interview him. was this the same timothy mcveigh at the dreamland motel. we don't know. our agents tried to interview him. when they approached him, they asked him you know what we are here for? he said probably about the oklahoma city thing. he refused to talk to us anymore. the attorney general janet reno announces the arrest. >> i am pleased to announce that one of the individuals believed to be responsible for wednesday's terrible attack has
been arrested. i remind everyone that john doe number two remains at large. >> murderer! >> when have a is taken from the local courthouse to be transported to oklahoma city, he is met boy an angry crowd and screams of baby killer. >> is it the act of someone who wishes the united states government? >> i was hoping it was not an american. >> it's hard to believe americans blowing up americans. >> it boggled my mind. >> what tim mcveigh did was the worst act of domestic terrorism in american history. the entire country was shocked and riveted that somebody could come from white bred superbia
and commit such an act. >> to think my daughter will grow up in this is scary. >> investigators are certain that mcveigh is the john doe number in the police sketch. they still have not identified john doe number two. >> john doe number two, if the fbi can't find him, does he exist? >> the chief sent him this message. there is noplace on earth where you will be safe. >> the michigan address on mcveigh's driver's license is the home of a man named james nichols. it's a critical development. his brother terry has been close friends with have a since they served in the army. like have a, nichols is known to harbor anti-government views. >> just four days before the blast he took out an insurance policy on his pickup truck. >> an arrest warrant is issued and later that day, nichols
turns himself in. by now the rescue operation at the murrah building has been a recovery effort. >> authorities in this building are coming across more body. >> the search for bodies will last for two full weeks. >> most of the survivors wanted to go to most of the funerals. that is tough going to 16 funerals. that was really hard. we needed to do it. >> two women are believed to be still in the building with an elderly man. >> on may 5th, 1995 with three victims still buried in the rubble, the search comes to an end. >> this was not two or three people from the city or two or people from that city. this was oklahoma city, the terrorism was directed at the city. directed at the people. it was at the heart of oklahoma
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jones immediately rejects the possibility of an insanity defense. >> them thee have a was not insane. he was rational and interviewed by several psychologists and psychiatrists and didn't have a mental or emotional disorder. >> the question is, why is a nonmentally ill individual going to conduct a bombing that kills hundreds of people. >> i don't want people to misread what i'm about to say, but i'm surprised how affable and likeable he appeared to be for a man who killed 168 people in cold blood. >> reporters dan her beck and lou michelle spent more than 70 hours interviewing him, trying to gain insight into what led him to be a domestic terrorist. by all accounts, an early turning point for have a comes in 1988 when he joins the army. while station add at ft.
benning, georgia, they bond with the platoon leader terry nichols over a shared distrust about the government. >> he loved hearing about government and politics. >> have a serves during operation desert storm in 1991 and awarded a bronze star for valor. during his service he kills at least two enemy combatants. >> one thing he bragged about is in saudi arabia when he was there in the war, he told me one time about shooting at an iraqi bunker and the guy came out and waving his hands trying to surrender and mcveigh started shooting at him with .25 millimeter. the first round hit the guy in the head. >> after returning from the war, have a hoped to join the special forces, but quits because he is
physically unprepared. >> one of mcveigh's goals early on in entering the army was special forces. when it didn't work out for him with the special forces, he lost his focus. >> have a is discharged from the army on december 31, 1991. he drifts taking odd jobs and attending gun shows. >> he was totally against gun control. he was totally in favor of government leaving people alone. letting them do what they want to do. >> distrust of a large central government goes back to our independence. it's written into our constitution. the problem is when it's taken to the extremes. timothy mcveigh was the extreme of that ideology. >> but he doesn't seem to be
destructive until two tragic events in the early 1990s insight him to embrace violence. in august 1992, deputy u.s. marshals and fbi agents are involved in a deadly confrontation in idaho with an alleged white supremacist named randy weaver who is suspected of selling illegal firearms. during an 11-day standoff, weaver's son, wife, and a deputy marshal are killed. then on february 28th, 1993, following a gun battle between the atf and members of a religion group called the branch davidians, they lay siege to the group's compound near waco, texas. a cache of weapons is at the center of the controversy. >> have a was in a rage over both of those incidents. the one thing that pushed him
over the edge and turned him into a trust was the waco incident. >> at one point, mcveigh drives to waco to deserve the siege. >> he parked his car and was selling anti-government pamphlets giving interviews about how much he distrusted the u.s. government. >> during an assault by the fbi on april 19th, the branch davidian compound is engulfed by fire. at least 76 men, women, and children die in the inferno. >> mcveigh told us that he was convinced that the u.s. government purposely murdered women and children at the waco compound. it was all part of an effort to destroy gun rights in america. the triggering moment was waco. he was there and he decided that
the government had gone too far. >> he was going to start his own war. >> the first strike would be aimed at the heard of the country. for mcveigh and his army buddy terry nichols, targeting a government building was dramatic and symbolic. they chose the alfred murrah building that housed 14 federal agencies including the secret service, dea and atf. >> mcveigh believed his bombing would be the opening in a conflict against an illegitimate federal government that needed to be brought down to its knees. imagine - she won't have to remember passwords.
colorado. the prosecution presents first and lays out a timeline of events that led up to the bombing. by mid-1994, mcveigh and nichols along with their army friend were ready to put their plan into action. mcveigh decided that the most effective weapon would be a truck bomb. in september 1994, mcveigh and nichols stockpile ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer used in truck bombs. >> you combine that with a fuel and you have an explosive mixture. it's cheap and readily available and not complicated to make. >> over the next few months, the two men start gathering more com bo ponents and 544 blasting caps they steal from a quarry in
kansas. have a and fortier go to oklahoma city to case the murrah building. >> we continue for certain mcveigh examined multiple federal buildings. he in particularly scouted out the murrah building on multiple occasions. we know that because he took michael fortier directly to the murrah building and said that after his examination of all the potential targets, this is the one he was going to hit. >> have a picks april 19th as the date. known as patriots day, it is revered by the anti-government movement. >> on april 19th, you have the first shot fired in lexington in the american revolution. on that day, waco occurs in 1993. then two years later, mcveigh blows up the truck bomb in front
of the murrah building. >> fortier decides no not take part. in a later plea bargain he agrees to testify against the coconspirators. in march, mcveigh creates a fake driver's license with the name of robert d cling and a birthday of april 19th, 1972. he buys the yellow 1977 mercury marquee from a used car dealer in junction city, kansas. the next day, have a reserves the ryder truck from elliott's body shop using the alias. on april 16th, have a and nichols drive to oklahoma city and have a parks it several blocks away from the murrah building and removes the license plates from the car and leaves a note. not abandoned. please do not toe.
needs battery and cable. two days later, mcveigh and nichols rendez vous at the state park near junction city where they assemble the bomb and the truck. >> the ammonium nitrate and the fuel would be mixed akin to a 55-gallon plastic barrel. those barrels would likely connect with the detonating cord that led to the boosters and that cord would have come where the blasting caps were. >> at the last minute, terry nichols bails out. >> as time grew near to the time of the bombing, nichols got cold feet. he decided he didn't want to do that. that was going too far. mcveigh screamed at him, threatened him. may have threatened to kill him. >> on the morning of april 19th, have a, now on his own, drives
the ryder truck into oklahoma city. at 8:57 a.m., security cameras at the regency tower apartment building catch the ryder truck parked across the street. they surmise this is when mcveigh lights the first fuse. a few minutes later, mcveigh moves the truck up, lights the second fuse and parks on the north side of the murrah building. he then exits the truck and begins walking rapidly to the yellow mercury parked four blocks away. at the federal building the work day is starting. hundreds of people are already inside. >> explosion downtown. >> about a third of the building
has been blown away. >> the front of the federal building is gone. >> mcveigh is only two blocks away when it detonates, but he makes it to the get away car and heads north on interstate 35 where he is stopped. a business card for a military supply store and on the back is a handwritten note. tnt at $5 a stick. need more. >> there is no question in my mind that timothy mcveigh wanted to get caught. wanted to become a martyr and wanted the u.s. government to execute him. he left a trail of bread crumbs for the agents. he was seeking the deluxe suicide by cop execution package.
>> as they settle in for the trial outside the courthouse, so is the city of denver. >> during his trial, timothy have a does not deny he set the truck bomb and instructions his lawyers to use a necessity defense that he acted in self defense against an oppressive government. >> he looked at the trial against a multimillion-dollar soap box for his views. he felt he had no choice but to
kill 168 people. >> is everything all right? no complaints? >> they resolved every problem i bring up. >> the situation here is better than it was? >> day and night. >> okay. >> in his distorted world view, his actions were a justifiable response to what he considered violence perpetrated by the government against his own people. >> the defense attorney knew a necessity case was unwinnable. he chose a difference course arguing that have a was part of a larger conspiracy. >> the greatest mystery of the oklahoma city bombing is who else besides tim mcveigh, terry nichols and michael fortier were involved. there were most assuresly others. >> they focused on the man seen
with mcveigh known as john doe number two. the description did not fit terry nichols or michael fortier. john doe number two they concluded never existed. >> the item that fit the description of john doe number two turned out it had been on a different day. he had been in there with a friend that rented a ryder truck. we now realized it was a misidentification of people transposing two events and putting two occurrences together. >> he swore to us over and over there was no john doe number two. no one was with him on the day of the bombing. the biggest misconception about the bombing in my view is this sprang from the brain of timothy mcveigh and masterminded by him and carried out by timothy mcveigh with a little help from terry nichols. >> if there were other people
involved with the bombing, who were they? some believe there may have been a connection between mcveigh and the so-called christian identity community in north eastern oklahoma about 170 miles from oklahoma city near the arkansas border. >> christian identity is a religion that said the white anglo saxon americans are the true children of israel and jews are subhuman essentially and black people are not even human at all. >> during the early 1990s, a number of extremists spent time here. >> this was an interesting time. you had a number of anti-government groups that were taking shape, arming themselves and building compounds and establishing their own laws and setting themselves apart from mainstream cities and locations on purpose.
believing then that not only people of other faiths or ethnicities or nationalities were the enemy, but the united states government was the biggest enemy. >> the question that recurs is what was the connection between tim mcveigh and the place. he said he never went there. there are people however who claimed to have seen him there. probably the strongest evidence that he was there is a ticket he received from an arkansas highway patrolman about four miles from arkansas on a road that takes you straight there. he wasn't there, where was he. >> he made calls and drove near the area, we know. beyond that, any connection to the city or the notion that there were others involved is
speculation heaped on top of speculation. >> assuming others were involved, why would he insist he acted alone with help only from nichols and fortier? >> he believed that in lying, he would protect the others so they wouldn't be convicted. he spun a series of lies to shield the others. >> i think it's possible that there were other people that helped along the way, but did not know they were helping with the bombing. i believe that the only ones who actually knew what they were working on were the three men that were punished by the government. mcveigh, fortier and nichols. >> we got him! >> two years and 44 days after the worst terrorist attack on united states soil, a verdict has been rendered in the bombing
trial of timothy mcveigh. >>or june 2nd, 1997, timothy mcveigh is found guilty on all 11 counts of murder and experience and sentenced to death. >> outside the courthouse in denver, tears, smiles, and all emotions in between. >> later that year on december 24th, terry nichols is also convicted. he is currently serving life at the super max prison in colorado. for cooperating, michael fortier receives a 12-year sentence. he is now part of the witness protection program. >> people ever going to remember timothy mcveigh as a murderer u not a martyr. >> on june 11th, 2001, timothy have a is put to death in terre haute, indian a. >> timothy james mcveigh has
been executed by lethal injection. >> it is the first in 38 years. >> mcveigh even at the point he was being executed never flinched or changed his mind or expressed regret, but right to the point of his death, mcveigh sustained his belief and did not show remorse. become the only thing you think about. that's where at&t can help. at at&t we monitor our network traffic so we can see things others can't. mitigating risks across your business. leaving you free to focus on what matters most.
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>> just over a month after the oklahoma city bombing, what was left of the murrah federal building was demolished. today the site is home to the oklahoma city national memorial and museum. in addition a reflecting pool, there is a field of empty chairs. 168 hand crafted sculptures that represent the victims. >> the memorial is a very special place. i think it really is a tribute to those who were killed and those who survived and those changed forever. it's just a positive thing that came out of a negative situation that we want people not to forget, but realize if a bad thing happens, you can get
through it. >> claudia and jim's children brandon and rebecca were two of six kids in the daycare who survived. >> rebecca was in the hospital for ten days and released in decent shape. she looked horrible, but in good shape. brandon in 1995 spent 126 days hospitalized. the first 45 days he had four major brain surgeries. they could not me for 35 days if he would live. they informed us that if he did survive, he would more than likely never walk or talk again. but we have a young man who is now 21 and walking and talking and an example of what miracles are all about. >> the oklahoma city bombing
remains the worst domestic terrorist act in american history. it changed the country in ways that are still being felt. >> people forget how different the world was when the bombing happened. it shattered across the world people's feelings of safety and security because if it can happen in oklahoma city, it can happen anywhere. if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. >> we're became a more cautious society. barriers went up around federal buildings. you have more security. the seeds of homeland security were actually planted by timothy mcveigh. >> there were other changes as well. the attack led to significant nr engineering improvements to with stand excessive forces whether man made or natural. it gave a greater voice to the victims and families left behind
by attacks like the oklahoma city bombing. >> timothy mcveigh believed he was going to cause people to rise up and rebel against the government. this was going to be the start of the revolution. what happened was the total opposite. you saw a community in total support of its law enforcement and firemen and government. it shows that when we put our hearts and minds together, we can make something good happen out of something terrible. >> but resilience alone can't protect against every threat. events continue to demonstrate that free societies must remain vigilant. the tragic bombing that killed two and injured 250 at the 2013 boston marathon is a stark
example. almost certainly by coincidence it happened on patriot's day. virtually 18 years to the day after timothy mcveigh attacked oklahoma city. zimbabwe requests the extradition of the american dentist who killed cecil the lion. >> i will build a wall and mexico will pay for it. >> donald trump doing his thing. a glimpse in to a donald trump presidency. an interview with the candidate coming up this hour. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world with. you are watching cnn newsroom. i'm